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Warning About Adultery

My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
    ·listen [L bend your ear] to my words of understanding.
·Be careful to use good sense [or So you might keep discrete]
    and ·watch what you say [L your lips might protect knowledge].
The ·words of another man’s wife [lips of an immoral/L strange woman] may ·seem sweet as [L drip like] honey;
    ·they [L her tongue/palette] may be as smooth as olive oil.
But in the end she ·will bring you sorrow [L is bitter like wormwood],
    ·causing you pain [L sharp] like a two-edged sword.
·She is on the way [L Her feet go down] to death;
    her steps ·are headed straight [or grab on] to ·the grave [L Sheol].
She gives little thought to the path of life.
    ·She doesn’t even know that her ways are wrong [L Her paths wander and she does not even realize it].

Now, my sons, listen to me,
    and don’t ·ignore what I say [L turn aside from the speeches of my mouth].
·Stay away from such a woman [L Keep your path far from her].
    Don’t even go near the ·door [entrance] of her house,
or you will give your ·riches [honor; or vitality; vigor] to others,
    and the best years of your life will be given to someone cruel.
10 Strangers will ·enjoy your wealth [or sap your strength],
    and what you worked so hard for will ·go to someone else [L end up in the house of a foreigner].
11 You will groan at the end of your life
    when your ·health is gone [L body and flesh are exhausted].
12 Then you will say, “I hated ·being told what to do [instruction; discipline]!
    ·I would not listen to [L My heart despised] correction!
13 I would not listen to my teachers
    or ·pay attention [extend my heart] to my instructors.
14 I ·came [or am] close to being completely ruined
    in front of ·a whole group of people [L the assembled congregation].”

15 ·Be faithful to your own wife [L Drink water from your own well; Song 4:10–15],
    ·just as you drink [L gushing] water from your own ·well [cistern].
16 Don’t ·pour your water in the streets [L let your fountains burst forth outside];
    ·don’t give your love to just any woman [L streams of water in the public squares].
17 These things are yours alone
    and shouldn’t be shared with strangers.
18 ·Be happy with the wife you married when you were young [L Rejoice in the wife of your youth].
    ·She gives you joy, as your fountain gives you water [L May your spring be blessed].
19 She is a lovely deer and a graceful doe.
    Let her ·love [or breasts] always make you happy;
    let her love always ·hold you captive [intoxicate/inebriate you; Song 4:10].
20 My son, ·don’t be held captive [L why should you be intoxicated/inebriated…?] by a ·woman who takes part in adultery [L stranger].
    Don’t fondle the bosom of a ·woman who is not your wife [L foreigner].

21 The ·Lord sees everything you do [L eyes of the Lord are on the path of every person],
    and he watches ·where you go [L all their ways].
22 An evil man will be ·caught [captured] in his wicked ways;
    the ropes of his sins will tie him up.
23 He will die ·because he does not control himself [L without discipline/instruction],
    and he will be ·held captive [or intoxicated; inebriated] by his ·foolishness [stupidity].

Dangers of Being Foolish

My ·child [L son], ·be careful about giving [L if you make] a guarantee for ·somebody else’s loan [L your neighbor/friend],
    ·about promising to pay what someone else owes [L shaking hands with a stranger in agreement; 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 22:26; 27:13].
You ·might [or will] get trapped by what you say;
    you ·might [or will] be caught by ·your own words [or what you say].
My ·child [L son], if you have done this and are under your ·neighbor’s [or friend’s] control,
    here is how to ·get free [extricate yourself].
·Don’t be proud [L Humble yourself]. Go to your ·neighbor [or friend]
    and ·beg to be free from your promise [L press/urge your neighbor/friend].
Don’t ·go to [L let your eyes] sleep
    or ·even rest your eyes [L let your eyelids/pupils slumber],
but ·free [extricate] yourself like a ·deer [gazelle] running from ·a hunter [L his hand],
    like a bird flying away from a ·trapper [fowler].

Go watch the ants, you lazy person.
    Watch ·what they do [L its paths] and ·be [or become] wise.
Ants have no commander,
    no leader or ruler,
but they ·store up [get their] food in the summer
    and gather their ·supplies [provisions] at harvest.
How long will you lie there, you lazy person?
    When will you get up from sleeping?
10 ·You sleep a little; you take a nap [L “A little sleep, a little slumber”].
    ·You fold your hands and [L “A little folding of the arms to…”] lie down to rest.
11 So ·you will be as poor as if you had been robbed [L poverty will come on you like a robber];
    ·you will have as little as if you had been held up [L deprivation like a shielded warrior].

12 Some people are ·wicked and no good [worthless and guilty].
    They go around ·telling lies [L with crooked mouths],
13 winking with their eyes, ·tapping with [or scraping] their feet,
    and ·making signs [pointing; gesturing] with their fingers [C a reference to secretive plans or even magic].
14 They ·make evil plans in their hearts [L are perverse in their hearts and determined to do evil]
    and are always starting ·arguments [conflicts].
15 So ·trouble [disaster] will strike them in an instant;
    suddenly they will be so ·hurt [L broken] no one can ·help [L heal] them.

16 There are six things the Lord hates.
    There are seven things ·he cannot stand [L that are an abomination to his soul]:
17     ·a proud look [haughty eyes],
    a lying tongue,
    hands that ·kill [L spill the blood of] innocent people,
18 a ·mind [heart] that thinks up evil plans,
    feet that are quick to ·do [L run to] evil,
19     a witness who lies,
    and someone who starts ·arguments [conflicts; fights] among·families [brothers; Ps. 133].

Warning About Adultery

20 My son, ·keep [protect] your father’s commands,
    and don’t ·forget [L abandon; forsake] your mother’s ·teaching [instruction].
21 ·Keep their words in mind [L Bind them to your heart] forever
    ·as though you had them tied [fasten them] around your neck.
22 They will ·guide [lead] you when you walk.
    They will ·guard [protect] you when you sleep.
    They will ·speak to you [or occupy your attention] when you are awake.
23 These commands are like a lamp;
    this ·teaching [instruction] is like a light [C making things clear].
And ·the correction that comes from them [L disciplined correction]
    ·will help you have [L is the path of] life.
24 They will ·keep [guard] you from ·sinful women [the evil woman]
    and from the ·pleasing words [L flattering tongue] of ·another man’s unfaithful wife [L the foreign woman].
25 Don’t desire her because she is beautiful.
    Don’t let her capture you by ·the way she looks at you [L her eyelashes].
26 A prostitute will ·treat you like [or cost you] a loaf of bread,
    ·and [or but] a ·woman who takes part in adultery [married woman] ·may cost you [L hunts; stalks] your life.
27 You cannot ·carry [or scoop] hot coals ·against your chest [or into your lap]
    without burning your clothes,
28 and you cannot walk on hot coals
    without burning your feet.
29 The same is true if you ·have sexual relations with [L go to] ·another man’s wife [L the wife of a neighbor/friend].
    ·Anyone who does so will be punished [L All who touch her will not go unpunished].

30 People don’t ·hate [despise] a thief
    when he steals because he is hungry.
31 But if he is caught, he must pay back ·seven times what he stole [L sevenfold],
    and ·it may cost him everything he owns [L he must give the riches of his house].
32 A man who takes part in adultery ·has no sense [L lacks heart];
    he will destroy himself.
33 He will ·be beaten up and disgraced [L find affliction and scorn],
    and his ·shame [reproach] will never ·go away [L be blotted out].
34 Jealousy makes a husband very angry,
    and he will ·have no pity [not forgive] when he gets revenge.
35 He will accept no payment for the wrong;
    he will ·take no amount of money [not take a bribe no matter how large].

The Woman of Adultery

My son, ·remember what I say [guard my speech], and ·treasure [store/hide in you] my commands.

·Obey [Guard] my commands, and you will live.
    Guard my ·teachings [instructions] ·as you would your own [L like the apple of your] eyes.
·Remind yourself of them [L Bind them on your fingers];
    write them on your heart as if on a tablet.
·Treat wisdom as a sister [L Say to Wisdom, “You are my sister”; 1:20–33; 8:1—9:6],
    and ·make understanding your closest friend [L call Understanding “Friend”].
·Wisdom and understanding [L She] will ·keep you away [guard you] from ·adultery [L the strange woman],
    away from the ·unfaithful wife [L foreign woman] and her ·pleasing [flattering] words.

Once while I was at the window of my house
    I looked out through the ·shutters [lattice; curtains]
and saw some ·foolish [simpleminded; immature; naive], young men.
    I noticed one of them ·had no wisdom [had no sense; L lacked heart].
He was ·walking down [crossing] the street near the corner
    on the road leading to her house.
It was the twilight of the evening;
    the darkness of the night was just beginning.
10 Then the woman ·approached [or propositioned] him,
    dressed like a prostitute
    and ·planning to trick him [L with a guarded heart].
11 She was ·loud [boisterous; noisy] and ·stubborn [defiant]
    and ·never stayed at [L her feet do not rest in her own] home.
12 ·She was always out [L A foot] in the streets ·or in [L a foot in] the city squares,
    ·waiting around [lurking] on the corners of the streets.
13 She grabbed him and kissed him.
    ·Without shame [L Her face was brazen as] she said to him,
14 “I made my fellowship offering [Lev. 3; 7:11–21; C the offerer ate the meat of the offering].
    Today I have ·kept [paid back] my ·special promises [vows].
15 So I have come out to meet you;
    I have been ·looking for you [L seeking your face] and have found you.
16 I have ·covered [ornamented] my bed
    with colored sheets from Egypt.
17 I have ·made my bed smell sweet [L sprinkled my bed]
    with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s ·make [be intoxicated with] love until morning.
    Let’s ·enjoy each other’s [rejoice in] love.
19 My husband is not home;
    he has gone on a ·long [faraway] trip.
20 He took a ·lot of money with him [L pouch of money in his hand]
    and won’t be home ·for weeks [L until the new moon].”
21 By her clever words she ·made him give in [seduces him];
    by ·her pleasing words [L the flattery of her lips] she ·led him into doing wrong [persuades/compels him].
22 All at once he followed her,
    like an ox led to the ·butcher [slaughter],
like a ·deer caught in a trap [or fool to the stocks]
23     ·and shot through the liver with an arrow [until an arrow pierces his liver].
Like a bird ·caught in [L hurrying to] a trap,
he didn’t know ·what he did would kill him [it would cost him his life].

24 Now, my sons, listen to me;
    pay attention to ·what I say [L the speech of my mouth].
25 Don’t ·let yourself be tricked by such a woman [L turn your heart to her paths];
    don’t ·go where she leads you [wander onto her paths].
26 She has ·ruined many good men [L caused many corpses to fall],
    and many ·have died because of her [are those she has killed].
27 Her house is on the ·road [path] to ·death [L Sheol; C the grave or the underworld],
    ·the road that leads down to the grave [L going down to the chambers of death].

Warning Against Adultery

My son,(A) pay attention to my wisdom,
    turn your ear to my words(B) of insight,
that you may maintain discretion
    and your lips may preserve knowledge.
For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
    and her speech is smoother than oil;(C)
but in the end she is bitter as gall,(D)
    sharp as a double-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death;
    her steps lead straight to the grave.(E)
She gives no thought to the way of life;
    her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.(F)

Now then, my sons, listen(G) to me;
    do not turn aside from what I say.
Keep to a path far from her,(H)
    do not go near the door of her house,
lest you lose your honor to others
    and your dignity[a] to one who is cruel,
10 lest strangers feast on your wealth
    and your toil enrich the house of another.(I)
11 At the end of your life you will groan,
    when your flesh and body are spent.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
    How my heart spurned correction!(J)
13 I would not obey my teachers
    or turn my ear to my instructors.
14 And I was soon in serious trouble(K)
    in the assembly of God’s people.”(L)

15 Drink water from your own cistern,
    running water from your own well.
16 Should your springs overflow in the streets,
    your streams of water in the public squares?
17 Let them be yours alone,
    never to be shared with strangers.
18 May your fountain(M) be blessed,
    and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.(N)
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer(O)
    may her breasts satisfy you always,
    may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
20 Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?
    Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?

21 For your ways are in full view(P) of the Lord,
    and he examines(Q) all your paths.(R)
22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;(S)
    the cords of their sins hold them fast.(T)
23 For lack of discipline they will die,(U)
    led astray by their own great folly.(V)

Warnings Against Folly

My son,(W) if you have put up security(X) for your neighbor,(Y)
    if you have shaken hands in pledge(Z) for a stranger,
you have been trapped by what you said,
    ensnared by the words of your mouth.
So do this, my son, to free yourself,
    since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands:
Go—to the point of exhaustion—[b]
    and give your neighbor no rest!
Allow no sleep to your eyes,
    no slumber to your eyelids.(AA)
Free yourself, like a gazelle(AB) from the hand of the hunter,(AC)
    like a bird from the snare of the fowler.(AD)

Go to the ant, you sluggard;(AE)
    consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
    no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer(AF)
    and gathers its food at harvest.(AG)

How long will you lie there, you sluggard?(AH)
    When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest(AI)
11 and poverty(AJ) will come on you like a thief
    and scarcity like an armed man.

12 A troublemaker and a villain,
    who goes about with a corrupt mouth,
13     who winks maliciously with his eye,(AK)
    signals with his feet
    and motions with his fingers,(AL)
14     who plots evil(AM) with deceit in his heart—
    he always stirs up conflict.(AN)
15 Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant;(AO)
    he will suddenly(AP) be destroyed—without remedy.(AQ)

16 There are six things the Lord hates,(AR)
    seven that are detestable to him:
17         haughty eyes,(AS)
        a lying tongue,(AT)
        hands that shed innocent blood,(AU)
18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
        feet that are quick to rush into evil,(AV)
19         a false witness(AW) who pours out lies(AX)
        and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.(AY)

Warning Against Adultery

20 My son,(AZ) keep your father’s command
    and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.(BA)
21 Bind them always on your heart;
    fasten them around your neck.(BB)
22 When you walk, they will guide you;
    when you sleep, they will watch over you;
    when you awake, they will speak to you.
23 For this command is a lamp,
    this teaching is a light,(BC)
and correction and instruction
    are the way to life,(BD)
24 keeping you from your neighbor’s wife,
    from the smooth talk of a wayward woman.(BE)

25 Do not lust in your heart after her beauty
    or let her captivate you with her eyes.

26 For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread,
    but another man’s wife preys on your very life.(BF)
27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap
    without his clothes being burned?
28 Can a man walk on hot coals
    without his feet being scorched?
29 So is he who sleeps(BG) with another man’s wife;(BH)
    no one who touches her will go unpunished.

30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
    to satisfy his hunger when he is starving.
31 Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold,(BI)
    though it costs him all the wealth of his house.
32 But a man who commits adultery(BJ) has no sense;(BK)
    whoever does so destroys himself.
33 Blows and disgrace are his lot,
    and his shame will never(BL) be wiped away.

34 For jealousy(BM) arouses a husband’s fury,(BN)
    and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
35 He will not accept any compensation;
    he will refuse a bribe, however great it is.(BO)

Warning Against the Adulterous Woman

My son,(BP) keep my words
    and store up my commands within you.
Keep my commands and you will live;(BQ)
    guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
Bind them on your fingers;
    write them on the tablet of your heart.(BR)
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
    and to insight, “You are my relative.”
They will keep you from the adulterous woman,
    from the wayward woman with her seductive words.(BS)

At the window of my house
    I looked down through the lattice.
I saw among the simple,
    I noticed among the young men,
    a youth who had no sense.(BT)
He was going down the street near her corner,
    walking along in the direction of her house
at twilight,(BU) as the day was fading,
    as the dark of night set in.

10 Then out came a woman to meet him,
    dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent.
11 (She is unruly(BV) and defiant,
    her feet never stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the squares,
    at every corner she lurks.)(BW)
13 She took hold of him(BX) and kissed him
    and with a brazen face she said:(BY)

14 “Today I fulfilled my vows,
    and I have food from my fellowship offering(BZ) at home.
15 So I came out to meet you;
    I looked for you and have found you!
16 I have covered my bed
    with colored linens from Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed(CA)
    with myrrh,(CB) aloes and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning;
    let’s enjoy ourselves with love!(CC)
19 My husband is not at home;
    he has gone on a long journey.
20 He took his purse filled with money
    and will not be home till full moon.”

21 With persuasive words she led him astray;
    she seduced him with her smooth talk.(CD)
22 All at once he followed her
    like an ox going to the slaughter,
like a deer[c] stepping into a noose[d](CE)
23     till an arrow pierces(CF) his liver,
like a bird darting into a snare,
    little knowing it will cost him his life.(CG)

24 Now then, my sons, listen(CH) to me;
    pay attention to what I say.
25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways
    or stray into her paths.(CI)
26 Many are the victims she has brought down;
    her slain are a mighty throng.
27 Her house is a highway to the grave,
    leading down to the chambers of death.(CJ)


  1. Proverbs 5:9 Or years
  2. Proverbs 6:3 Or Go and humble yourself,
  3. Proverbs 7:22 Syriac (see also Septuagint); Hebrew fool
  4. Proverbs 7:22 The meaning of the Hebrew for this line is uncertain.

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